Trevor Story: A 2019 Early Round Target

Trevor Story is making the case to be an early round 2019 Fantasy Baseball asset.

Keith Allison

Trevor Story entered the 2018 fantasy baseball season as a player savvy owners targeted – a high-upside sort of acquisition. It wasn’t as though Story’s 2017 season was a complete disaster, so the draft-day cost varied drastically. For example, Story’s NFBC ADP ended the draft season at 113th overall. In a 15 team mixed league, this would be the middle of the 7th round. Looking closer we see that at least one owner thought it was a good idea to draft Story 47th overall. Another owner lucked into the Rockies’ shortstop at pick 244!

Story was a productive fantasy asset during the 2017 season – 24 home runs, 7 stolen bases, 150 runs plus RBI and a poor batting average. The total production in 2017 wasn’t the reason anyone tanked their season, it just wasn’t what many had hoped for.

Those hopes were based on an insane rookie season in 2016 for Trevor Story. That season Story hit 27 home runs, stole 8 bases and even maintained a decent batting average (.272) over 415 plate appearances (97 games). Contact was an issue for Story that year as he struck out in 31.3% of his plate appearances.

2018 Season:

Story is making a case to be a first/second round turn target in many 2019 fantasy baseball drafts. Through 122 games played (513 plate appearances), Story has remained a potent power bat with 25 home runs, 34 doubles and 5 triples. Among qualified hitters, Story’s .255 ISO ranks 16th, between the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt.

Story also grades out favorably on the Statcast Leaderboards in terms of power. His 414 foot average home run distances ranks inside of the top-10 among qualified hitters. Story is also top-30 in the barrels per plate appearance percentage category. Whether you grade Story’s power production using traditional metrics or Statcast data, it’s clear, the 25-year-old Story is a force to be reckoned with.

Also launching Story’s 2019 draft cost into the first few rounds is his ability to steal 20+ bags. Using the Statcast Sprint Speed Leaderboard we see Story ranked an impressive 14th among all position players. The Rockies are currently 13th in Major League Baseball with 65 stolen bases. While the Rockies are not running wild, Story should continue to see ample opportunity to run.

Arguably the biggest gain for Story this season has been in the batting average category. Strikeout rates above thirty percent had been an anchor for Story to begin his career. After averaging a 71.5% Contact Rate in 2016 & 2017, that mark has improved to 77.3% this year. The biggest changes have occurred with Story swinging less often outside of the zone. He’s also begun swinging slightly more inside of the zone. This change of approach should certainly help a hitter lower his overall swinging strike rate. Story’s batting average is still somewhat helped by hit rate. Calling Coors Field home should continue to have this positive effect on his overall hit rate.

Current Ranking:

Story currently ranks seventeenth overall among both hitters and pitchers on the ESPN Player Rater. Story also ranks third overall among shortstop eligible players. A side-by-side comparison of Trevor Story and Javier Baez, currently the second ranked shortstop, could prove to be interesting as owners begin 2019 draft preparation. With names such as Francisco Lindor (first overall among shortstops) and Manny Machado (fourth overall among shortstops) clearly tabbed as early round 2019 draft day options, the case for Trevor Story being selected among the top-25 hitters comes clearly into focus.

Source FanGraphs Baseball Savant NFBC ADP